Swallowed by depressed patient

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

Doctors have found a wedding ring in the stomach of a patient, almost two years after the owner reported it missing.

Ntombizodwa Thomas, 39, of Parys in Free State, was shocked when the private clinic called her last week to tell her the news.

A fellow patient who had slept in the bed next to hers at Vereeniging Cure Care in July 2005 had apparently swallowed her three-band wedding ring.

Thomas and her fellow patient had both been admitted for depression.

Now, almost two years later, doctors operating on the woman at another hospital in Vereeniging found the ring in her stomach.

The woman, known only by her surname of Harris, was admitted to Vereeniging Medi- Centre for stomach pains.

Doctors operating on her found and removed two parts of the three-band ring. The third part is still missing and it is not known what could have happened to it.

"This white lady shared a ward with me. One morning my ring went missing. We searched all over for it.

"Management and staff searched all over with no results," Thomas yesterday.

Her husband, Sipho Thomas, was so furious at the time that he threatened to sue the hospital for loss of the ring and stress to his wife.

"That ring had a sentimental value to us as a couple," he said.

"That is why I wanted to sue," Thomas said.

His wife said: "I had always thought there was something funny about the woman because she would wake up at night and walk about and do lots of other funny things.

"I had left my personal belongings on top of the table and went outside to get fresh air. When I came back they had disappeared."

The management and staff searched the ward to no avail. Her other belongings were found under the bed occupied by the other woman.

She said her fellow patient had denied knowledge of the ring.

Sister Martie Bosman of Cure Care confirmed the 2005 incident and said they were lucky to find the ring.

Harris's husband, Willie, said yesterday that his wife had been mentally imbalanced and suffering from depression at the time she took the ring and did not know what she was doing.